After we broke the news last week about the abrupt closure of West Seattle Licenses (5048 California SW) at year’s end, we got a tip from a West Seattle resident about a credit-card-number-theft case linked to a former employee. The victim told us they’d been contacted by a state investigator who said it might not have been an isolated case. Now we’ve confirmed that the licensing subagent closed with an investigation under way. From Cameron Satterfield of King County Executive Services, which contracts with subagents:
The state Department of Licensing (DOL) is investigating improper transactions made by employees at the office. DOL investigators provided a report to King County in mid-December detailing the improprieties. Over the next several days, King County connected with WSL ownership regarding the DOL report and next steps.
On December 24, King County issued a contract termination notice to WSL based on the owners failing to provide proper oversight of their employees. Included in that notice was an option to cure the breach of contract. WSL’s plan to cure the breach was due to King County by January 10, and the agency would have been allowed to continue operating until at least then. However, on December 30 WSL confirmed acceptance of the termination notice, and proposed moving forward with contract termination effective December 31. They also elected not to pursue the opportunity to cure. The WSL office subsequently closed at the end of business on December 31. The investigation is ongoing, but expect it will wrap up soon since WSL has now closed.
We are working on obtaining records related to the case mentioned in the tip we received.
In the meantime, Satterfield reiterates that the county is continuing to seek a replacement for West Seattle Licensing: “A new licensing subagent will be appointed for the West Seattle/White Center area. We will move as quickly as possible on that process, but it still may take a couple of months at minimum.” The opening will eventually be posted here.